Friday, November 11, 2022

‘Ask for a little help’

Reg and Shana McCutcheon

     Reg McCutcheon grew up poor in southern Indiana, his father a disabled Korean vet.
     “I learned to appreciate government cheese,” said McCutcheon, who went into the Air Force in 1980, right out of high school. “Going into the military was my escape.”
     He became a satellite systems operator, and was sent to Afghanistan in 2011.
     “I thought I’d be looking at a computer screen and saying, ‘There’s a bad guy behind that rock,’” recalled McCutcheon, with a chuckle. “Turns out, they didn’t need that.”
     He found himself much closer to ground action than is typical for the Air Force.
     “I lost a good friend my fourth day there,” he said, of an engagement that killed eight other soldiers. “Outside the wire, all the time, you see things. It hit home pretty quick.”
     McCutcheon got hurt too — “pretty beat up” is how he puts it — earning the Bronze Star, a chest full of medals and 19 operations. But he put those memories away when he retired as a lieutenant-colonel in 2014, after 34 years of service. He became a therapist, working with vets struggling to readapt to civilian life.
     Then last July, he recognized an unexpected patient who needed professional help: himself.
     “He was struggling,” said his wife, Shana. They’d been married for two years, a second marriage for both.
     “A lot had been amazing, but also difficult,” she said. “We have lots of kids.”
     Eight between them.

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1 comment:

  1. An important message, not just for vets but for anyone facing challenging emotions. There is help out there and it's not hard to find.

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